Students take action to bin pesky fruit stickers

Published: 22 February 2023

A Castlemaine primary school is challenging politicians and industry leaders to embrace a tiny but powerful enemy of our compost system – fruit stickers.

Winters Flat Primary School is a 5-Star school in ResourceSmart Schools, an award-winning Victorian Government program delivered by Sustainability Victoria, that assists schools to embed sustainability in everything they do. Being part of the program has given the students a chance to have fun, while engaging and inspiring the wider school community to act on climate change and reduce waste.

When the students realised that the fruit stickers weren’t breaking down in the compost, they started an awareness campaign through social media and local newspapers, as well as writing directly to government, supermarkets and industry groups. The call was clear: collect fruit stickers to save them from going into compost and landfill.

2022 Winters Flat student Zahyra said the school was determined to act on this sticky issue.

“We are putting up posters and meeting with environmental leaders across Victoria to share our concerns."
Zahyra, 2022 Winters Flat student.

“Our school gardens and composts are free of these plastic pests, and we wish that every garden and compost had that privilege.”

Their efforts were recognised in the 2022 ResourceSmart School Awards, with Winters Flat winning Community Leadership Primary School of the Year.

Six students and two teachers accepting their 2022 ResourceSmart Schools Award from the host. Winters Flat students accepting their 2022 ResourceSmart Schools Award.

Terry Willis oversees the sustainability program at Winters Flat. He said winning the award was an important step to raise awareness of their fruit sticker campaign as well as connecting with other Victorian schools.

“We’ve had great support and promotion for our project from the ResourceSmart Schools program,” Terry said. “Hopefully more schools can be as pesky' as we are with fruit stickers. The more people on the journey, the wider the impact.”

ResourceSmart Schools


Since 2008, 1,400 school communities have taken part in the ResourceSmart Schools program to address climate change and build a sustainable future. Through the program schools have embraced collective action to plant 5,271,038 trees, saved more than 118,000 tonnes CO2e greenhouse gas emissions, diverted 194,000 cubic metres of waste from landfill, saved 1,884,783 kilolitres of water, and saved more than $41 million on bills.

The ResourceSmart Schools Awards are Victoria’s largest celebration for primary and secondary school students, teachers and school volunteers embedding sustainability in their communities.

Collective action

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